Documentary Questions the Existence of Jesus

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Brian Flemming's "Bat Boy: The Musical" was praised by critics but appalled some fundamentalists with its references to incest and other dark themes. Flemming's latest project is just as likely to disturb conservative Christians. The 39-year-old Angeleno has made an hourlong documentary titled "The God Who Wasn't There." In it, the former born-again Christian argues that the biblical Jesus never lived, but is a mythological figure like Paul Bunyan.

Initially released theatrically June 17, the documentary grew out of Flemming's research for a fictional thriller-in-progress titled, "The Beast." In that film, which he hopes to release next year, a teenage Christian discovers that the Jesus she fervently believes in never existed.

"My position is that's the most likely scenario," the filmmaker said.

Asked why he chose to question Jesus' existence instead of his divinity, Flemming said: "I think that the idea that an individual could be the son of a god is already so ridiculous it doesn't need to be debunked."

To promote the movie, Flemming places it squarely in the company of other headline-making exposes: " 'Bowling for Columbine' did it to the gun culture. 'Super Size Me' did it to fast food. Now 'The God Who Wasn't There' does it to religion…. Hold on to your faith. It's in for a bumpy ride."

Made for less than $100,000, with jazzy graphics and David Byrne remixed on the soundtrack, the documentary includes a montage of images from a 1905 silent movie on the life of Christ and the 1952 miniseries "The Living Bible."

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